Habitat GLAS applicants find their birds had flown

Farmers in Co Donegal who applied to take part in GLAS, including preservation of hen harrier as a GLAS action, were in for a disappointment.

They discovered that eligibility for qualification for the hen harrier module in GLAS has been removed from 29 farms in the county.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney confirmed in the Dáil that designation of areas under the Birds and Habitats Directives is a matter in the first instance for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and his Department has been advised by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of that Department that designation should be removed from a relatively small area in Co Donegal, because it is not a habitat for the bird.

“However, the land in question retains its Natura designation and the farmers concerned still qualify for priority access to the GLAS scheme,” said Mr Coveney.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the country, there has been disappointment for farmers in Skerkin Island in West Cork, because they cannot be added to areas of chough habitat to be included as Priority Environmental Assets for the current GLAS application tranche.

Local Fine Gael TD Noel Harrington asked Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to amend GLAS to include Sherkin as chough habitat, but Mr Coveney said it was not possible, at this stage, to add additional areas for the current application tranche.

However, the Minister said the matter has been raised with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht — and they have confirmed that neighbouring Cape Clear Island should be included as a chough site for GLAS.


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